A Beginner’s Guide To Genoa (Updated 2019)

Genoa Italy or Genova is a port city situated in Italy and is the capital of the Liguria region. This region had once played a pivotal role in maritime trade over many centuries. This is the sixth-largest region in Italy and is quite an important port on the Mediterranean. Due to its glorious and impressive historical landmarks, Genoa Italy has been nicknamed as la Superba (the proud one). This place is the birthplace of Christopher Colombus, Andrea Doria, Niccolo Paganini, Giuseppe Mazzini to name a few. This city is also Italy’s major economic center that has hosted massive shipyards and steelworks since the 19th century.

There are some splendid places of attractions in Genoa Italy that one should never miss when on a visit to this historical place. Let us take a tour through this guide to the city’s most important tourist attractions.

1. Best Attractions In Genoa

1.1 Via Garibaldi Palaces

Via Garibaldi Palaces

The Via Garibaldi looks just a little more than a lane because it is covered on both sides by the grandiose facades of the side by side palaces. This street lies to the north of Piazza Ferrari and just above the sailor’s quarter is good for a simple stroll too. its facades have a succession of carved and painted embellishments along with frescoes, grand arcades, loggias, balconies, courtyards and entrances that were once the homes to noble families. For the beauty of this assemblage, this site was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site. One can tour the three of these adjacent buildings—- Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco, and Palazzo Tursi can be visited by one ticket to see the interiors and enjoy the magnificence of their collections.

1.2 Acquario Di Genova

Acquario Di Genova

This large aquarium in Italy and one of the largest in Europe makes Genova Italy massive water Edutainment that often takes many days to explore it completely. This aquarium was built in 1992 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the native Christopher Colombus. This aquarium has marine animals of every kind with arrangements of every possible natural environment inside the aquarium for their stay. The biosphere which is an awesome steel and glass globe structure has been designed by the famous Italian architect Renzo Piano that also has a tropical garden.

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1.3 Cathedral Di San Lorenzo

Cathedral Di San Lorenzo

This dramatic cathedral was originally a Romanesque basilica in the 1100s that was remodeled in the year 1307 in the best Gothic style and completed with a Renaissance dome in 1557. The inside of the cathedral has bits of architectural history. One such notable example is the 15th century Capella San Giovanni Battista that largely reflects the early works of the Renaissance architecture in Genova Italy. This was built to hold the remains of St. John The Baptist.

1.4 Santi Ambrogio E Andrea And Piazza Matteotti

Santi Ambrogio E Andrea And Piazza Matteotti

The main attraction of Piazza Matteotti is the Jesuit Church of Santi Ambrogio e Andrea hat was built between 1588-1637 by the renowned Renaissance architect Domenico Tibaldi. The ebullient high baroque style made of marble, gilded stucco work, beautiful frescoes and the two paintings by Peter Paul Rubens pour their excellence on this church making it a much sought after spot for tourists.

The former Doge’s Palace is now an exhibition center and has more footfall than the Piazza Matteotti. The museum has many relics of the noble Genoese Doria family, the tomb of Andrea Doria who had restored Genoa’s independence in 1500 and also a 14th-century cloister beside the church building.

1.5 Santa Maria Di Castello

Santa Maria Di Castello

This is one of the most ancient sites of Genoa Italy that can be dated back to the times when the early tribes traded with the Phoenicians and Etruscans. There were many churches and convents built here between the 12th and 16th centuries. The center of this complex has the 12th century dated Romanesque church of Santa Maria. The loggias of this place overlook the sea and have some awesome frescoed ceilings too.

1.6 National Gallery In Palazzo Spinola

National Gallery In Palazzo Spinola

The tangled streets of the quarters that once had sailor’s living in them have an extravagant carved marble, trompe l’oeil decoration, mosaic floors, crystal chandeliers, beautiful furniture, and painted ceilings from the glorious days of Genova Italy.

1.7 Via Balbi And Palazzo Reale

Via Balbi And Palazzo Reale

This street is also a magnificent one that was laid out in the early 17th century with many splendid palaces. This street is to the west of the extravagantly beautiful church named Santissima Annunziata. This street is quite wide and has innumerable shops lined along its sides with some palaces too. The Palazzo Balbi Senarega stands at no.4 and the Palazzo dell’ Universita stands at no.5. There is also the 17th century Palazzo Reale that has some awe-inspiring staircases, balconies intricately designed interiors and an art collection that have remarkable designs in them.

1.8 Harbor


When the sea traffic outgrew the Porto Antico, a new maritime facility was built to handle the increasing traffic. But the age-old section still remains and one can see the Darsana that has the galleys of Admiral Andrea Doria. One can also hop into the harbor cruises to take a look of the big ships, the little Porticciolo Duca Degli Abruzzi. One can also get the view of the city too when roaming in these cruises.

1.9 Museo D’arte Orientale

Museo D’arte Orientale

This museum has Europe’s largest collection of Asian art that is based on the collections of Edoardo Chiossone and is especially known for Japanese art. It has paintings belonging to the 11th and 19th centuries, enamels, bronzes, lacquerware, textiles, pottery, theater masks, costumes, and musical instruments too.

1.10 Galata Museo Del Mare

Galata Museo Del Mare

Since Genoa Italy was a Mediterranean naval power during the 16th to 19th centuries, so its old harbor serves as the apt place for the largest museum of the Mediterranean. This building occupies part of the Darsana where the Republic of Genova Italy built their own fleet, the four floors of this building offer a good picture of the ships and navigation from the Age of Discoveries to the many ocean liners and submarines.

1.11 Piazza De Ferrari

Piazza De Ferrari

This is the hub of Genoa Italy that has a beautiful splashing fountain surrounded by grand buildings and also some busy streets that form a roundabout. One can walk down the principal street named Via XX Settembre and other adjoining streets to enjoy the Art Nouveau facades. The Neo-Baroque building is the Exchange and the Academia Ligustica di Belle Arti holds the sculptures belonging to Genoa and Liguria. The corner of the Via Roma that helps to access the Galleria Mazzini shopping complex is also the Teatro Carlo Felice that was rebuilt after World War II.

1.12 Cimitero Di Staglieno

Cimitero Di Staglieno

This is among the famous cemeteries in Genova Italy. Located in the northern part of Bisagno valley, this cemetery is accessible by car and bus from the city. Its terraces have innumerable elaborately designed stone monuments and are a must- see for those who love the Art Nouveau sculpture and decorations. The top of Boschetto Dei Mille, one can see the tomb of Giuseppe Mazzini which is known to be Genoa’s hero of independence and a native too of this place.

1.13 Porta Soprana And Casa Di Colombo

Porta Soprana And Casa Di Colombo

This gate in the city walls was built in the year 1155 where Christopher Columbus is believed to have spent his childhood in the much- restored stone house near to the outstanding little cloister of Sant’Andrea. The museum does not have much stuff for viewing but the whole building is worth seeing and can be in the list of top attractions of Genoa Italy.

1.14 Boccadasse


There are actually no real beaches in Genova Italy but one can be found at the Boccadasse which is an old fishing village and now a neighbor to Genoa. One can take a stroll in the sea facing promenade or take a local bus in the seaside enclave to view the pastel buildings around the shingle beach. Taking a view of this spot from restaurants can be a good option too that usually gets crowded during pleasant weather.

1.15 Lanterna Di Genoa

Lanterna Di Genoa

This ancient lighthouse has been erected in the 12th century that has been reconstructed time and again. It serves as the primary lighthouse of the harbor and also as the landmark of the city. This is the oldest building in the world after the tower of Hercules and Kopu. The top of the tower is crowned with a large glass light that is 76 m high and can be seen even from some great distance of Genoa Italy.

1.16 What To Do In Genoa For A Day?

It is said that Genoa is packed with a lot of appeals that will definitely make one’s holidaying experience best among many. This place has an abundance of medieval charms in its many cathedrals and food too. So if you are wondering what are the things to be done in a day in Genoa, below is a helpful guide for you:

1.17 Loiter Around The Medieval Sights

Loiter Around The Medieval Sights

Take a view of the 12th-century city gates in the east named Porta Soprana. From here head to the cobbled alleyways that lead to the main square, the grand fountain named Piazza de Ferrari. Also, see the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo and its zebra-striped façade.

1.18 Navigate Through The Labyrinth

Navigate Through The Labyrinth

Being the largest medieval center in Europe, this old town is a maze of alleyways that is a must for exploration. There are excellent coffees shops lined here along with gelaterias. Visit the Caffetteria Lomellini or the Profumo di Rosa on the Via Cairoli for the pistachio ice-cream.

1.19 Do Pay A Visit To The Fishing Village

Do Pay A Visit To The Fishing Village

To get away from the humdrum of city life, retreat to the fishing village of Boccadasse by a bus, train or a taxi from Genoa’s center. This inlet has a pebbled beach that houses multicolored buildings and is just perfect for watching the sunset. This area bustles with life at dusk when families and friends gather to the ice-cream parlor named Antica Gelateria Amedeo.

1.20 Get The Feel Of A Duchess

The enchanting destination of Strada Nuova Museum on Via Garibaldi is a must visit too. These are like former palaces that are owned by the Duchess of the Brignole Sale family till the 19th century. But now the buildings Palazzo Rosso and Palazzo Bianco are now galleries of art collections that have all received the UNESCO world heritage recognition.

1.21 Taste The Pizza And Pesto

Taste The Pizza And Pesto

Genova Italy has many eateries that will compel you to indulge deeply in their pizzas, pesto and pasta dishes. You get the authentic dishes here at the famous eateries and a visit to these is a compelling act.

1.22 Take A Sky Ride

Take A Sky Ride

Catch the experience of riding on the funiculars up the hillside that will definitely give you the thrill of ascending above the city on a cliff railway. Try the Zecca-Righi route that starts from the Via Cairoli. This ride will help you get an experience of the ruins of the Castellaccio and Sperone military forts that were built between the 17th and 19th centuries.

1.23 Get The Feel Of Panoramic Perspective

Get The Feel Of Panoramic Perspective

Make a steep and short walk to the Spianata Castelletto platform that will help you get a 360-degree view of the Genoa city and also the port below. You can also take the Art Nouveau style public lift that is accessible from Piazza del Portello.

1.24 Wander Around The Cruises

Wander Around The Cruises

Porto Antico which is the city’s harbor is in operation since 500 BC. So if you want to cover a day in Genoa Italy, make a visit to this harbor amidst the cruise ships and have lunch at one of the nearby restaurants. Do visit the La Biosfera, a massive spherical glass and steel greenhouse designed by Renzo Piano, which makes a great Crystal Mazeesque photo opportunity.

1.25 Visit The Portofino

Visit The Portofino

This harbor is also famous for its wealthy visitors who moor their yachts within the cobblestone square. There are many luxury shops and fine dining restaurants where you can enjoy the food and soak the opulence that largely lingers in the environment here. You can also have a beer and a free dip in the sea by taking boat trips to the Portofino.

2. Weather Conditions In Genoa

Weather Conditions In Genoa

The climate of Genoa is the Mediterranean type that is characterized by mild rainy winters and hot summers. The wind is quite frequent as depression often forms on the Gulf of Genoa. The rains in Genoa Italy happen in abundance. The autumn season is the rainiest season even if the sea is still warm. Sometimes this rain leads to floods as well with October being the wettest month

Winter happens from December to February with good weather conditions and the sun shining brightly. But the Po valley is covered with fog completely for which the cold season is sometimes characterized with rains too. It sometimes snows too but melts soon because of the warm influence of the sea.

The spring season is from March to May when the weather stays mild and sunny but is also quite rainy. The first two months of the spring season, March and April, are unstable periods. The rest of the months have mild temperature with a maximum of 20 degrees Celsius.

The summer months are from June to August which is quite hot and sunny. The heat is a bit moderate because of the influence of the sea and its breeze but these months also have some sultry periods. This season also witnesses thunderstorms.

Autumn months are from September to November with mild and humid conditions together.

The sea in Genoa Italy is warm enough for swimming in July and August where the average temperature reaches 25 degrees Celsius.

3. Best Time To Visit Genoa

Best Time To Visit Genoa

The best time to visit Genoa is the spring and summer months, i.e., from mid- April to mid- June. September is also favorable but only in the first half. The best months for a beach holiday is from July to August.

4. How To Reach Genoa

4.1 Plane

How To Reach Genoa by Plane

The main airport of the city named Aeroporto di Genova-Cristoforo Colombo is well connected with major European cities like Rome, London, Munich, Paris, and Madrid. These areas have frequent flights to Genoa Italy and one can reach the city center by a hired taxi or shuttle.

4.2 Train

How To Reach Genoa by Train

The two train stations in Genoa, Brignole and Principe, have well connectivity of trains with the cities of Milan, Turin, Tuscany, Rome, and France. In fact, traveling by train to Genoa is a reasonable option.

4.3 Road

How To Reach Genoa by Road

Genoa Italy has good connectivity of roads because of the presence of highways and Eurolines coaches from various European countries. In fact, a Genoa travel guide recommends opting for the Euroline coaches when traveling by road.

4.4 Boat

Being an important port since time immemorial, Genoa has ferry services from Barcelona, Valletta, Bastia, Olbia and Porto Torres, Palermo, Tangier, and Tunis.

5. To Get Around Genoa

To Get Around Genoa

The best way for sightseeing Genoa is using its public transport. The bus service is affordable and efficient. The underground train service is also reasonable as you can buy tickets in bulk to roam around the city. But going around in a rented taxi is not recommended because the streets are quite crowded. Also, obtaining a parking spot is quite tiresome. Also, some tourist spots have boat rides that can be availed too.

6. Good Eateries In Genoa

Good Eateries In Genoa

It is said that Genoa is Italy’s best-kept secrets. The city is a pretty port with delicious pesto. In order to know where you should put forward your best eating efforts instead of floundering for one, below is the perfect guide that will help you find the perfect Genoa Italy local food:

The perfect street food can be found here with names like sciamadda and friggitorie. While sciamadde is the chickpea crepes and focaccia, firggitorie is the crispy fried sea critters. Other specialties of Genoa are Salsa di Noci that is just like pesto and has walnuts and fresh cheese. One should also eat the Strosciata, a lovely light and crumble cake. Focaccia in Ligurian olive oil is also a famous dish. The other dish to try there is Trofie Pasta which is oven roasted snails. Below is a list of eateries where you can find delicious food:

6.1 Lunch In Genoa

  • Eataly Genova- For The Authentic Local Food
  • Gran Ristoro- For Deli Sandwiches
  • Trattoria Da Maria- For Traditional Genovese Food
  • Antica Friggitoria Carega- For taking Away Specialties Like Fried Fish And Chickpea Pies

6.2 Dinner In Genoa

Dinner In Genoa

  • Ombre Rosse- This Restaurant Has A Gorgeous Garden That Makes It Perfect For Dining Outside
  • 20 Tre- For The Gourmet Food
  • Le Cantine Squarciafico- This Restaurant Helps To Dine On The Fresh Sea Bass Which Is Close To The Old Port
  • Sa’ Pesta- For Delicious Fritto And Pesto
  • Pizzeria Savo- Another Restaurant That Sells Fancy Pizzas

6.3 Restaurants For Other Food Items

  • U Gelato Du Caruggiu, Profumo Di Rosa- For The Most Delicious Gelato
  • Bar Berto- For Home-Brewed Beer
  • Cafeteria Lomellini- For Espresso, Pastries And Tiny Piazza
  • Les Rouges- For The Best Cocktail Cool Aperitivo
  • Marescotti Di Cavo- For Pastries, Amaretto Cookies And Champagne

Late winter to early spring and the summers are a perfect time to visit Genoa. So, if you are chalking out a plan for spending your vacation here, get the bookings done in the hotels well before time to prevent any last -minute hassle. Some of the names of hotels are given below that will help you have an enjoyable stay when in Genoa:

6.4 For The City Breaks:

For The City Breaks:

  • Hotel L Nuvole: A traditional townhouse in the central part of Genoa Italy and is quite near to the beach too.
  • Porto Antico B&B: This chic accommodation is located in Genoa’s city center.
  • San Giorgio Rooms: This hotel is considered the perfect stylish stay that boasts of a superb location
  • Quarto Piano: This stylish B&B has contemporary rooms that have a rooftop terrace hot tub

6.5 For Family Stays And Couples:

  • Locanda Di Palazzo Cicala: This 18th-century building that has apartments for families and couples along with kitchen and living areas.
  • San Giorgio Rooms: This stay has family suites that are located quite close to the city’s attractions.
  • Hotel Le Nuvole: This hotel too offers sleek family and rooms for couples and is quite near to Genoa’s beach.
  • Besides these, one can also rent an apartment or villa through various online travel partners who will help you in doing so.

6.6 Other Travel Information

Other Travel Information

  • The city has great weather during the summer months with July and August being the perfect months for a vacation here.
  • All tourists should fly into Genova airport which is served by all major airlines. One will get direct flights from London and if coming from Edinburg, then one need to stopover in London, Amsterdam or Paris.
  • As there are no direct train services to get to Genoa, one needs to take the Rapid Bus Service from the airport to the town of Genova Italy. The passengers are then dropped at the Principe and Brignole train stations.

7. Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What Is Genoa Italy Known For?

Genoa is the birthplace of the great discoverer Christopher Colombus. Also, it is known for its medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic architecture.

Q2: What Can You Do In Genoa For A Day?

In a day, one can visit the various tourist attractions of Genoa Italy and also have specialty foods like pesto, pasta, pizza and gelatos there.

Q3: Is Genoa And Genova The Same?

Yes, Genoa and Genova are the same.

Q4: What Food Is Genoa Famous For?

The specialties of Genoa are pesto, focaccia, ravioli, pansotti, corzetti, torta Pasqualina, cima, farinata, panissa, tomaxelle, ciuppin, buridda, capponada, stockfish alla Genovese, Baccala, capon magro and pandolce fruitcakes.

Q5: What Is The Population Of Genoa Italy?

The port city of Genoa has a total population of 5.84 lakhs, according to the 2017 census records.

Q6: How Do I Get From Genoa To Portofino?

There are around 50 trains traveling from Genoa to Santa Margherita Ligure Portofino. So, it takes some minutes the fastest being within 18 minutes, to reach Genova from Portofino.

Q7: Is Genoa In The North Or South Of Italy?

Genoa is located in the northern Italian Plain.

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